What's the difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder?

They look basically the same, sound basically the same, smell basically the same and are spelled basically the same—so what's the difference between regular cocoa powder and Navitas Organics Cacao Powder? It's a great question—and one with a fascinating answer! (Well, we think so anyway.)

Cocoa powder and Cacao Powder start with the same single ingredient: the cacao bean. Where they differ is in their processing, which then creates a world of difference between their nutritional benefits.


Regular unsweetened cocoa powder is made by roasting cacao beans at a very high heat, which is done to reduce the natural bitterness of the cacao bean. Interestingly enough, bitterness in foods is an indicator of abundant nutrients—in cacao's case, antioxidants. So when the cacao is roasted, it makes the bean sweeter but also greatly diminishes its nutritional value!

Another common process applied to conventional cocoa powder is alkalizing, which is also sometimes called "Dutch process" cocoa. Alkalizing washes the cacao beans with a potassium carbonate solution to make it taste less acidic—again, making it more palatable but damaging the beneficial nutrients in the process.

While regular, "natural" cocoa powder and alkalized/Dutch processed cocoa powder still have a bit of a bite to them, some cocoa powders taste sweet. These have had sugar, dehydrated dairy and other ingredients to make it taste appealing to our tongues.

Navitas Organics Cacao Powder is none of these things. A true superfood, our cacao ("kuh-kow," not "cocoa"!) powder is low temperature processed—not roasted or alkalized—to retain its unique antioxidants, minerals and other beneficial nutrients. It's what keeps nature's superfood a superfood!